Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks #147: Clones and Doppelgänger

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of "Thursday Movie Picks", the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This weeks theme is Clones and/or Doppelgänger, and as always I've picked three older movies.

A Stolen Life (1946). Bette Davis plays Kate and Patricia, a pair of sisters who both meet Bill (Glenn Ford) and fall in love with him. Patricia marries him much to Kate's chagrin, but when they both go out on their boat, the boat capsizes killing Patricia. Kate is found unconscious, and when she recovers, she decides to take Patricia's place so she can have Bill. It's reasoably well-made, but not nearly as entertaining as Davis' later:

Dead Ringer (1964). Davis plays Edith and Margaret, both of whom loved the same wealthy man. Margaret married him and Edith became a poor, debt-laden spinster, but when the man dies, Edith gets the brilliant idea to kill Margaret, make it look like it was Edith who died, and take Margaret's place in a life of luxury. There's only one small catch. It turns out that Margaret no longer loved her late husband, and was having an affair with playboy Tony (Peter Lawford), who obviously figures out something is going on.

The Day Mars Invaded Earth (1963). Kent Taylor plays Dr. Fielding, heading up an unmanned space probe mission to Mars. Something goes wrong upon landing, and it turns out that incorporeal Martians have decided they don't like having space probes show up on their planet. So they use the radio link back to Earth to travel over it, and take the place of Dr. Fielding and his family. Well, first they have to clone the Fieldings, and so there's a lot of the real Fieldings not realizing they've been cloned, and having the bejeezus scared out of them when they encounter their clones. This is one of those ultra-low-budget movies Maury Dexter was making for Fox to distribute while the Cleopatra production was hemmorhaging money (at least that's how I see it), and it's probably the best of them.


Daniel said...

LOVE this Bette Davis double feature but haven't even heard of the third one!

I'm almost surprised no one seems to have picked Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Birgit said...

I wanted to see A Stolen Life for Years along with The Dark Mirror but I did see Dead Ringer which is great! Better is just so much fun in this flick...poor Karl Maldon. I don't know the 3rd one but it sounds fun to watch

Ted S. (Just a Cineast) said...

I specifically didn't pick Invasion of the Body Snatchers because I wanted something different.

Kevin McCarthy is enjoyable in it, though. (Or, I suppose, you could be thinking of one of the remakes.)

joel65913 said...

A Stolen Life is more refined and big studio classy but Dead Ringer is probably more fun since Bette isn't as subdued in it. Both are fun and double Bette is always welcome. A bonus to Dead Ringer is Karl Malden's performance which is quite good.

The Day Mars Invaded Earth is a cheapie but it does attempt some innovation on that shoestring budget plus it has Marie Windsor in the cast which is a good thing.

There were more films in this theme than I had expected which allowed for a variety of genres in my choices.

The Devil’s Double (2011)-During Saddam Hussein’s iron fisted reign in Bagdad Latif Yahia (Dominic Cooper), a lieutenant in the Iraqi army, is called to the palace and told that because of his resemblance to Hussein’s depraved son Uday (also Cooper) he is commanded to be his body double or his family will be exterminated. Having no choice but sickened by the corruption, inhumanity and evil he witnesses he searches for a way to escape and save his family at the same time. This is Cooper’s movie all the way and he’s just great but it’s a hard film to watch.

Dave (1993)-Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline) is an affable Midwesterner, running a temp agency and making appearances at small events due to his resemblance to the current US president, Bill Mitchell (also Kline). The Secret Service takes note of the similarity whisking Dave off to the capitol as a stand-in for Mitchell at an event. While there an emergency arises, Bill Mitchell has suffered a devastating stroke and his power mad aide Bob Alexander (Frank Langella-oozing slime) and press secretary Alan (Kevin Dunn) talk Dave into assuming his place theoretically for the good of the country. Actually Alexander is seeking to usurp the political reins until he can figure out how to take full control. At first the subterfuge is known only by the two and a dutiful Secret Service agent Duane Stevenson (Ving Rhames) but as Dave starts to rebel against their treachery and display his very different personality First Lady Ellen Mitchell (Signourney Weaver) begins to suspect. There’s plenty more machinations in store all delightfully directed by Ivan Reitman and put over by exactly the right performer in each role. Thoroughly beguiling comedy with a perfect cast.

I Was Monty’s Double (1958)-A retelling of the true event where an enlisted man, M. E. Clifton James (who plays himself) was chosen to imitate Field Marshal Montgomery--the leader of the British forces during WWII. The plan (Operation Copperhead) was to have Monty’s double go on a tour of North Africa around the same time as the Normandy invasion in Northern France--so that the Germans would assume the assault would come later than actually planned and from the South. The film is about the formation and execution of the ultra-top secret plan but while it treats the subject seriously it leavens the situation with a much needed humorous undertone aided by a terrific British cast including John Mills and Cecil Parker.

Dell said...

Obviously, I need more Bette Davis in my life. I haven't seen either one of these. That last one sounds like a riot that right up my alley. Surprised I've never heard of it before. I'll have to find that one.

Ted S. (Just a Cineast) said...

Dead Ringer is a hoot. Poor Bette did a lot of way over-the-top stuff starting about with The Star, and it's all oh-so-entertaining.

Brittani Burnham said...

I need to watch these Bette Davis films.

Katie Hogan said...

Both those Davis movies sounds awesome - especially Dead Ringers!